Archive for power ballads

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Twisted Sister- Stay Hungry

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

With all the fuss about the upcoming Christmas holidays and reading about various opinions of the “Twisted Christmas” album and why Twisted Sister made such an album, I thought I’d treat everyone to their most defining album, “Stay Hungry.” It was by and far the most successful Twisted Sister album of all time and it made, to quote Dee Snider, 1984 “the year of the Sister.”

Let me take you back to the golden year and where it first started. The massive sales of the album were spring-boarded by the huge hit, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and the very amusing video for it, that got tons of airplay on MTV. I never minded the fact that during the summer of 1984, it seemed to be on every time I turned the station on. The video for said song featured actor Mark Metcalf, famous for playing Niedermeyer in the greatest party film of all time, “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” Metcalf plays an overbearing dictatorial father who shouts constantly at his rock loving son. The son gets his own back by propelling his father out windows after turning into Dee Snider. It was all very hilarious and only those without any sense of humour wouldn’t enjoy it.

A scene from the video, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

“Stay Hungry” spawned two more singles, “I Wanna Rock” which did fairly well in the charts. The video carried on the zaniness of the Niedermeyer debacle. It too was a very funny video. The other single was the power ballad, “The Price,” which didn’t break the top forty, but who cares because it is definitely up in my top ten of power ballads.

Singles aside, the remaining seven songs are just as awesome. The closest track to filler is “Don’t Let Me Down” but it’s better than many songs on other albums which  aren’t considered filler. While “The Beast” never got played the last two times I saw Twister Sister at Bloodstock, it did get played the two times I saw them on tour for this album. “Captain Howdy” is a cool song. The title track is one of the best album openers of all time and the closer “SMF” is also outstanding as a closer and build the foundations as to why this album is so great. To my knowledge, there isn’t a sane soul in the metal world who doesn’t like “Burn In Hell.” Except for the first time because it hadn’t been written yet, it got played all the other times I saw the band live. However, the one small disappointment whenever I saw them live  was that they never played the song I call the hidden gem, “Street Justice.” I like everything about this song from the cool intro to the guitar solo to the serious lyrics. Maybe that’s why I think I’m different to the rest of the world because I seem to be the only person who really likes it. I’ve read that they played the song in 2009 when they played the entire album live. I wish I could have been there.

Track Listing:

  1. Stay Hungry
  2. We’re Not Gonna Take It
  3. Burn In Hell
  4. Horror Teria

a. Captain Howdy

b. Street Justice

5. I Wanna Rock

6. The Price

7. Don’t Let Me Down

8. The Beast

9. SMF

Twisted Sister

Dee Snider- lead vocals

Eddie Ojeda- guitars, backing vocals

Jay Jay French- guitars, backing vocals

Mark ‘The Animal’ Mendoza- bass, backing growls

AJ Pero- drums, percussion

Three videos from this iconic album is my Christmas treat to all of you, enjoy. Whatever else happened in the band’s history before or since, the obvious thing is that “Stay Hungry” made Twisted Sister in 1984. It was definitely the year of the Sister and I wonder sometimes if I didn’t convey that point in Rock and Roll Children.

Next post: The 12 Days of Christmas, several versions

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: Slade- Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2017 by 80smetalman

Throughout the later half of the 1970s, Slade had been trying to break into the American music market but with little success. Back then, I heard the name but nothing more. However, in 1983, Quiet Riot covered their 1973 hit “Cum On Feel the Noise.” Once Americans realized that the song had been originally written and recorded by Slade, a curiosity about the band arose and people began to check them out. Honest, it was on my to do list but I didn’t get around to it. That was until radio played the single, “My Oh My” from the 1984 “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply” and then MTV played the video for “Run Run Away” quite a lot. Therefore, I had no other choice than to investigate Slade. It would be this album first. That led me to listen to them more and is why I site them as an ‘honourable mention’ in my series of “Other Great Metal Influences.”

The big question back in 1984 was should Slade be considered heavy metal? Of course, the trendies thought anything with a fuzzy guitar was heavy metal and some of the more self proclaimed hard core metalheads claimed the opposite citing the fact that Jim Lea wrote “Run Run Away” on his fiddle. Well that happens to be my favourite Slade song of all time and yes, there is definitely a folk influence in the song but for me, it still rocks. I love the crunching guitars at the beginning and the folk provides a cool twist. Amusing anecdote: For the first few weeks of hearing “Run Run Away,” I thought the lyrics “See chameleon” were actually “See comedian.” My ears were playing tricks on me.

“My Oh My” is another reason why I’m such a sucker for a good power ballad because that’s exactly what it is. I could never explain why but the lyrics to it really got to me then and when I hear it now, I think about that. Folk influenced tunes and power ballads aside, the album blows apart any argument that Slade aren’t capable of going total rock out. The best examples are the three tracks, “Slam the Hammer Down,” “In the Doghouse,” which has the best guitar solo on the album and the title track. All of these are really cool songs and stamp the argument that Slade can be considered heavy metal. Not that the other songs don’t rock because they surely do. Except for “(And Now the Waltz) C’est La Vie,” which is the other power ballad on the album. It’s good and better what some bands are capable of but I prefer “My Oh My.” Also the closer, “Ready to Explode,” is cool with the car racing commentary and it rocks pretty well too. Unlike the shorter tracks, it’s eight minutes long and you are not bored for one second of it. However, it’s the three mentioned ones that are the big headbangers on this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Run Run Away
  2. My Oh My
  3. High and Dry
  4. Slam the Hammer Down
  5. In the Doghouse
  6. Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply
  7. Cheap’n Nasty Luv
  8. Can’t Tame a Hurricane
  9. (And Now the Waltz) C’est La Vie
  10. Ready to Explode

Slade

Noddy Holder- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Dave Hill- lead guitar, backing vocals

Jim Lea- bass, keyboards, backing vocals, accompanying lead vocal on “Ready to Explode”

Don Powell- drums, percussion, gongs

 

Quiet Riot may have helped Slade get the recognition they so dearly deserved in America but it was the “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply” album that made everyone take notice that they were for real. They did start a tour in support of Ozzy in this year but Noddy Holder’s marital problems and Jim Lea coming down with hepatitis killed the tour. Shame, because I would have loved to have seen them.

Next post: Black N Blue

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510257719&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: The Scorpions- Love At First Sting

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

After posting albums by two bands who came and went virtually unnoticed by the world, except for me, I noticed them, I thought it would be a good idea to go totally the opposite direction and post about a band whose album took the world by storm in 1984. That is exactly what The Scorpions “Love at First Sting” album did, it took the metal world (and in some cases, the non-metal world) by storm. The first single got played a lot on MTV, not that I minded that at all.

Even after more than three decades, when I hear the opening riffs to “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” I jump up and want to start headbanging away to it. Being a little older and slightly more wiser these days, I have come to realize that it was a gutsy move to release it as a single. Those opening riffs are not something you’d expect to hear on commercial radio but one did then. Normally, metal bands would release the more commercial friendly song, not one that blows people away. Then again, 1984 was the golden year of heavy metal so I shouldn’t be surprised that such songs got airplay.

The great thing about “Love At First Sting” is that the above single was just one of the great songs that appear on it. The two songs either side of “Rock You Like a Hurricane” are just as kick you in the head metal. In fact, I have come to believe that those songs could have been arranged in any order and it would have had the same effect on my enjoyment of it. I still would have loved it. After the three opening songs, “Coming Home” starts like a total ballad but after a minute and a half in, the band just goes nuts and the power of the first three songs comes through. Maybe writers Meine and Schenker thought the listener needed a break so, they wrote it that way. But whatever their motives, it worked!

Things go almost to speed metal levels with the next track, “The Same Thrill” but again, it’s done very well. They just let themselves go here and it sounds great. It would be nearly another year before “Big City Nights” was released as a single but I’m glad I didn’t have to wait that long to hear it. It’s a powerful song with a catchy melody and some cool guitar hooks. Some very interesting opening riffs on “As Soon As the Good Times Roll” and “Crossfire” keep things ticking over and leads nicely to what some might consider another gutsy move. The album ends with the second single, the power ballad, “Still Loving You.” As some of you might have guessed, I’m a sucker for a good power ballad and this one is right up there with the best. Note: I’ve already sung the praises of the musicians who comprise this band on previous posts about The Scorpions, so I won’t repeat it.

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Boys Running Wild
  2. Rock You Like a Hurricane
  3. I’m Leaving You
  4. Coming Home
  5. The Same Thrill
  6. Big City Nights
  7. As Soon As the Good Times Roll
  8. Crossfire
  9. Still Loving You

The Scorpions

Klaus Meine- lead vocals

Rudy Schenker- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Mathias- Jabs- lead guitar

Francis Bucholz- bass

Herman Rarebell- drums

If any one album, established metal as a dominant musical force in early 1984, it was “Love at First Sting” by the Scorpions. Looking back, it’s only right that they be part of the golden year of metal. Especially as they put out such a cool album. My regret is not giving it enough mention in “Rock and Roll Children.”

Next post: Slade- Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1509995239&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great(ish) Soundtracks of 1984: Footloose

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

 

There was a very strange trend in regards to movie soundtracks in the mid 1980s. It seems that in order to appeal to all forms of music lovers, there would be songs representing nearly every genre. There would be some trendy pop songs, some rock, some soul oriented songs and even a heavy metal jam or two. This is exactly the case with the soundtrack for the film, “Footloose” which came out in the very beginning for this year.

Let’s start with the trendy. Kenny Loggins was already known for hit songs from soundtracks. He achieved it with the 1980 film, “Caddyshack.” So, it was no surprise that he sings the title track to the film. It has always been one of those songs I’ve neither loved or hated. The “Footloose” soundtrack also gave one hit wonder Deneice Williams her one hit with “Let’s Hear it For the Boy.” That song seemed to be on every AM radio station during the summer of 1984. I’ve heard worse but I’ve certainly heard far better. On the other hand, the soundtrack was unable to give 1982 one hit wonder Karla Banoff her second hit. It’s a song that’s just there. Then comes the usual practice of using former hits like Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” Finally, there’s the let’s take two singers from established bands and have them do a duet for the soundtrack. Cue, Mike Reno of Loverboy and Ann Wilson from Heart with “Almost Paradise.” It was supposed to be a power ballad that draws rock lovers and top forty fans together but no, it doesn’t. Both singers do a good job on the song and it’s better than most of the other tracks but not good enough to get into my top power ballad list.

Let’s side track for a moment. I have an experience with “Almost Paradise.” Mrs 80smetalman and I chose it for our wedding at our local registry office. Three weeks before our wedding, we get a letter from the registrar stating that we can’t use the song because it has religious connotations, which is not allowed at a civil wedding in the UK. I wonder if they would have said the same if I asked for a Deicide song.

Back to the point, “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar was a definite attempt by the movie makers to appeal to music lovers of African origin. It’s like, let’s put in a song by a black band and black people will buy the soundtrack. That’s my take on it. Now, for true rock lovers like me and you, there’s the classic John Cougar song, “Hurt So Good” and another attempt to bridge the rock/top 40 gap, let’s bring back the Foreigner classic ballad, “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Now to the metal, we got the great “Metal Health” by the then up and coming Quiet Riot but for me the best song on this soundtrack has to be Sammy Hagar’s “The Girl Gets Around.” Maybe someone heard the “Heavy Metal” soundtrack and said, “Hey, let’s use a Sammy Hagar song.” At least they chose a good one.

A note about the film: “Footloose” is about a teenage boy, played by Kevin Bacon, who moves into a small town, which is run by people who are anti-music. The local reverend is the spearhead of the anti-rock campaign. Of course, Kevin and the music win the day and music is allowed in the town but maybe Hollywood was onto something here. The religious right’s war on music was just in the early stages in 1984 and maybe this film could be a prophecy of things that could come about. It’s something to think about. Oh yes, the track by unknown band Moving Pictures called “Never” isn’t bad but it never (pun intended) made me want to explore their discography.

Track Listing:

  1. Footloose- Kenny Loggins
  2. Let’s Hear it For the Boy- Deneice Williams
  3. Almost Paradise- Mike Reno and Ann Williams
  4. Holding Out For a Hero- Bonnie Tyler
  5. Dancing in the Sheets- Shalamar
  6. I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)- Kenny Loggins
  7. Somebody’s Eyes- Karla Bonoff
  8. The Girl Gets Around- Sammy Hagar
  9. Never- Moving Pictures
  10. Metal Health (Bang Your Head)- Quiet Riot
  11. Hurt So Good- John Cougar
  12. Waiting for a Girl Like You- Foreigner
  13. Dancing in the Sheets (12 inch mix)- Shalamar

Quiet Riot

Bonnie Tyler

John Cougar Mellencamp

Foreigner

Sammy Hagar

“Footloose” wouldn’t be the only film whose soundtrack got the ‘corporate’ treatment. While there’s something for everyone, at least it’s thought so, there’s not enough songs here for me to ever go out and buy the album. Besides, I already have the tracks I do like from here on other albums.

Next post: Streets of Fire

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507754027&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Chicago- 17

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

I’d like to thank Rich for this one. If he hadn’t posted about Chicago’s 11th album from 1977, I would not have remember that the band had a really good album in 1984. Thank you Rich for jogging my memory here. Once my memory got into full swing, I remember that there was a song on this album I really liked. That was the opening track, “Stay the Night,” which I remember most because of the very amusing video got played quite a bit on MTV during the summer.

Reflections from my old age, I now realize that Chicago deserves more credit for “17” than what they actually received. There were two camps in 1984. Most bands were either going down the synth pop road or heading in a more harder direction. Chicago didn’t go down either road. Instead, they stuck with the same formula that made them so successful throughout the 1970s. Their fusion of soft rock and jazz influences work just as well on this album as they had on all of their previous ones. That is precisely why Chicago was my ‘not guilty pleasure’ in the mid 1980s.

Proof of what I’m talking about can be traced to the success of “17.” There were four singles, including my favourite track mentioned above, the best known of these was the ballad, “Hard Habit to Break.” Sure, it’s no where near a heavy metal power ballad but it’s a good song anyway. Just as successful was the track “You’re My Inspiration” which did just as well in the singles charts as “Hard Habit to Break.” The fourth single is probably the hardest rock song on the album, “Along Comes a Woman.” Guitarists Bill Champlin and Chris Pinnick deliver on the guitar on the track and the other instruments do well in support. It has a definite catchy vibe and that makes it my second favourite track. Of course, it wouldn’t be me if there weren’t any non single songs on the album to like. “We Can Stop the Hurting” takes the prize here as it is a definite reminder that Chicago were not about to compromise with their sound. “Remember the Feeling” does come closer to being a power ballad as there is some hard guitar in the background and a fairly decent solo on it. With some really great tracks to close, this album was just like anything you found on any Chicago album throughout the band’s history.

Track listing:

  1. Stay the Night
  2. We Can Stop the Hurtin’
  3. Hard Habit to Break
  4. Only You
  5. Remember the Feeling
  6. Along Comes a Woman
  7. You’re My Inspiration
  8. Please Hold On
  9. Prima Donna
  10. Once in a Lifetime

Chicago

Peter Cetera- bass, lead and backing vocals

Bill Champlin- guitars, keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Robert Lamm- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Lee Loughnane- trumpet

James Pankow- trombone, horn arrangements

Walter Perazaider- woodwinds

Chris Pinick- guitar

Danny Seraphine- drums

The reason why I considered Chicago to be my not guilty pleasure from the 1980s was down to the fact that by then, I was a total metalhead. Chicago are definitely not metal but I’ve always liked their softer version of rock, especially in the 70s. So there was no reason why I shouldn’t have carry it over into the next decade.

Next post: Roger Hodgson- In the Eye of the Storm

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507309311&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Blackfoot- Vertical Smiles

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2017 by 80smetalman

Another great Southern Rock or in my view Southern metal band who went for a more commercial rock sound in 1984 was Blackfoot with their album, “Vertical Smiles.” Keyboards player Ken Hensley from Uriah Heep became a permanent member and guitarist Charlie Hargrett left over disagreements with the band and management. However, I have always believed Charlie’s departure to be fairly amicable because written on the album cover is “Special thanks to Charlie Hargrett for fourteen years of agony and dedication.”

The move to more commercial rock comes out in the very first song, “Morning Dew,” which was released as the album’s only single. I remember it getting limited airplay on radio. While I have always liked this song, it was certainly a departure from traditional Blackfoot. The keyboards lead into the song and it’s present throughout, although this isn’t a bad thing. I also love the military sounding snare drums complements of Mr Spires and Rick Medlocke pelts a good guitar solo on it. So there is a lot to like with “Morning Dew.”

Things go decisively harder for the next few songs after. “Living in the Limelight” is a pure belter and Medlocke’s signature vocals are present. The song rocks! The same can be said for “Get It On.” This too is a good rocker from the more memorable days of Blackfoot. The song in between them, “Ride With You” isn’t bad either. It’s just too much keyboards where some good guitar stuff should be and that lets it down a little. Then, the album slows right down with two power ballad type songs, “Young Girl” and “Summer Days.” It does show a more tender side to the band and both songs are done very well. Happily, things go back to more familiar ground with the blazing “A Legend Never Dies.” I have always thought “this is more like it.”  It proves that Blackfoot can effectively employ guitar and keyboard together in a song. But the most true old style Blackfoot track is the pen ultimate, “Heartbeat and Heels.” This song casts aside any doubt that Blackfoot have completely abandoned their past. It is the hidden gem on the album. I’ve never been too sure about the closer. You would think that any song titled, “In For the Kill” would be a hard rocker and though this song has moments, it doesn’t move me in for any kill. Still, it’s probably the best song to close the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Morning Dew
  2. Living In the Limelight
  3. Ride With You
  4. Get it On
  5. Young Girl
  6. Summer Days
  7. A Legend Never Dies
  8. Heartbeat and Heels
  9. In For the Kill

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- guitar, lead vocals

Ken Hensley- keyboards, backing vocals

Greg T Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums, backing vocals

Sherri Jarrell- backing vocals

Note: This was a band photo from the last album but I thought I’d use out it of respect for Charlie Hargrett

All in all, “Vertical Smiles” is a pretty decent album. True, they incorporate keyboards where a harder guitar sound should be in places but it’s not bad. The album does have good songs. Still, it’s not near the same level as their three famous albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.”

Next post: Survivor- Vital Signs

To buy Rock and Roll Children go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1503603657&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Steve Perry- Street Talk

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2017 by 80smetalman

If I were one of those types of persons who bought or didn’t buy an album because of the single, then I wouldn’t have bought the first solo album from Journey’s singer, Steve Perry, “Street Talk.” Now, I’m not saying that “Oh Sherrie” was a rubbish song, it’s not. What it is is a rather catchy AOR pop song and it’s little wonder that it reached number three on Billboard charts. However, that big single is not typical of the rest of the “Street Talk” album.

“Oh Sherrie” is the opener on the album and that’s not a surprise. Like I said, it’s not a bad song. On the other hand, if I had anything to say, I would have put the second track, “I Believe” as the opener. This is a funky jam which stretches Steve’s voice to its full potential. This is the song that wakes you up and says that you’re going to listen to this album and like it. The following track, “Go Away,” combines the first two songs. There is that 80s synth influence of “Oh Sherrie” in the back ground but it goes to the funky vibe of “I Believe.” The song works and has a decent guitar solo. However, the next track, “Foolish Heart,” is a definite ballad, sung in a lounge act style. While, it’s not my cup of tea, you can’t fault Mr Perry’s vocals on it.

There are some rockers on the album as well and that begins with “It’s Only Love.” Steve shows that he’s still the rock singer he was with Journey. There are some good guitars to enjoy on it too. An even better rocker is “You Should Be Happy.” This even has a cool guitar lick at the intro and is for sure, a straight ahead rocker. It’s definitely in the top two for my favourite track on the album. Love the power chords in the middle of the song. Even though, it starts out like it’s going to be another ballad, “She’s Mine” turns out to be a quiet little rocker as well. “Running Alone” is a ballad, no questions asked but okay since it turns into a power ballad later in the song. “Captured By the Moment” is a good rocker with a cool guitar solo. However, the song, I’ve always liked is the closer and third single, “Strung Out.” When I first heard it, I thought “This is more me.” And it takes the album out on a high.

Track Listing:

  1. Oh Sherrie
  2. I Believe
  3. Go Away
  4. Foolish Heart
  5. It’s Only Love
  6. She’s Mine
  7. You Should Be Happy
  8. Running Alone
  9. Captured by the Moment
  10. Strung Out

Steve Perry

Steve Perry- vocals

Craig Krampf, Larrie Londin- drums, percussion

Bob Glaub, Chuck Domanico, Kevin McCormick, Brian Garofalo- bass

Michael Landau, Waddy Watchel, Craig Hull, Billy Steele- guitars

Steve Goldstein, Sterling Smith, Bill Cuomo, Billy Goodrum, Duane Hitchings, Robert Greenridge- keyboards

Journey might have been taking a break in 1984 but Steve Perry wasn’t. “Street Talk” is proof of that. This was a good album for him, whether or not you liked “Oh Sherrie.”

Next Post: Dennis De Young- Desert Moon

Note: The link for Rock and Roll Children no longer works but it is still available on Amazon.com and other books websites and at Foyles Book Shop in London